Runtime organization is a matter of personal preference. Some prefer multiple runtimes, some prefer one runtime and even then you can view it different ways in DS. Eventually you will need to get your hands dirty and start organizing yours. The main advantage of learning to organize it is that everything becomes easier to find. You will also learn the Poser Runtime hierarchy which will be very useful when dealing with freebies that were not packaged correctly.
My personal preference is to use a single runtime. I find it neater and faster to setup when reinstalling DS or Poser as a clean install with no previous registry entries left. To begin my method you will need two things:
1. A file compression utility like Winrar. (your choice)
2. One empty folder on your hard drive!
3. Patience and time!
I admit its time consuming upfront but this method will save you a ton of time later if you need to reinstall any amount of content later on. It also allows for combining packages and makes updating content easy as wll.
Whether you need to organize content that came as a zip file or a exe your first step will be to extract the contents to the chosen empty folder. After extraction is completed you can go in and organize your folders as you please including the renaming of folders if so desirered. (I am going to assume you already have an understanding of the hierarchy) Once organization is complete, go to the folder level above the runtime folder and select all relevant files and folders (runtime, readme, ect…) and compress them using the utility of choice. Once that is done, you now have a pre-organized package of your content that can be quickly and easily installed to any location you disire. To unpack this in your runtime make sure you choose the Content Folder as the destination if using DS.
Now from there it will be up to you if you keep the original downloaded file but I personaly do not. Regardless or zip or exe, once I have my organized package, I delete the original (as long as I did it right) since its redundant.
When installing a massive amount of content you will find this method extremely fast and far less mind boggling then running each installer over and over for two reasone. First (using Winrar) you can select an entire folder full of compressed packages and tell Winrar to extract to (in my case) E:\xDaz\Studio\Content\ and from there all i do is wait for the first warning of overwriting a file and choose to either do so nor not to all and let it go from there. Its automated and I dont have to babysit it. Secondly, its organized!!!!!!! I dont have to go back and redo the whole process. Very handy for runtimes of any size! Did I mention its organized?
Now for combining packages some of it can be straight forward. For example, if you want to combine Baby Doll Hair with the Love Me Tender package you simple install both to the empty folder at the same time and organize and compress. Its very simple. If you want to combine the Gen4 character packs its just as easy as long as you remember to install the base character first and remember to let the installer initialize the files as well. This also allows for easy addition of newer figures later on.
To give an example of how my runtime is organzed I attached several images. The first is my Figures Folder, the second is the Aiko3 Folder and subfolders in Figures and the third is the Aiko3 Folder in Poses.